“Cash for crash” fraud is a major problem on the UK’s roads and it’s a subject that has gathered a lot of attention recently from the police and the press. Until recently there have been no serious incidents involving harm to a person or persons and that is why now is a better time than any for the government to step up its efforts to eradicate Britain’s cash for crash culture.
Cash for crash is a fairly simple and all too common practice among people who see no problem in causing sensible motorists a lot of bother on the roads. It occurs when a fraudster deliberately causes an often low speed accident in order to claim for personal injuries. Typical tactics used by fraudsters include making sudden stops at roundabouts, junctions and slip roads that force the victims car to crash into the back of them. It’s a serious issue here in the UK and according to recent statistics, such crashes are part of a criminal industry which costs insurers £392m a year through false claims.
False insurance claims are common in many areas of the insurance industry but one such instance recently has left insurers and insurance customers feeling astonished at the ingenuity of criminals. Published last week in Portsmouth’s “The News” was a story that claimed a woman had blamed a non-existent seagull for the disappearance of a watch. This, according to Portsmouth researchers, is a common practice of Britain’s insurance cheats. Moreover, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has conducted research into the behaviour of claimants and found that more than two-thirds of people either wouldn’t rule out making a false claim or would think it is acceptable to exaggerate the damage or cost of an item that is lost or stolen.
Regardless, the combined cost of committing small insurance fraud for items that cost for example, £500, would result in billions of pounds lost by insurers. The conclusion is simple: False claims, even if small, have a much larger impact than you would imagine.
Bad weather can strike at any time, that’s why it’s incredibly important that insurers and insurance brokers stay on their toes. Luckily, over the past year, and during periods of some of the UK’s worst weather ever experienced, insurers found a way to help their customers when they needed it.
Customers, naturally, can do things that help to deal with or even prevent the effects of bad weather. Just by keeping informed of the advice regularly offered by your insurer can help prevent damage/excess damage to your home in times of flooding, for example; brokers and insurers are usually quite good at doing this too.
It may not astound you to hear, then, that during 2012, the wettest recorded year in England and Wales and second wettest in the UK, insurers handled 486,000 claims for flood and storm damage from homeowners, businesses and motorists. This, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), is why they commend insurers as that huge figure works out to over 1,300 customers being helped each day.
Flood damaged properties received an average payout of £18,200 while properties damaged by storm weather received an average of £1,300. Moreover, flood and storm damage accounted for £690 million in payouts to homes, £413 million to businesses and £84 million to motor insurance customers.
Nick Starling, ABI’s Director of General Insurance, said:
“2012 may have been a record-breaking wet one, but it was business as usual for insurers, who helped thousands of customers recover from the trauma of flooding. Insurers expect bad weather to strike anytime, anywhere and last year highlighted the vital role insurance plays in helping communities recover from our increasingly volatile weather.”
Flooding is the greatest natural threat facing the UK and so the government and insurers need to commit to establishing a suitable statement of principles to protect peoples’ properties. There is also the need for homeowners to realise this threat and make all necessary attempts to safeguard their properties from the damaging effects of bad weather.
If you live near a flood plain or if your home has been deemed a flood risk then contact us and we can point you in the right direction. Why not call us now and see how we can help?
Britain is getting colder. It’s a fact. More snowfall has been predicted for counties from Scotland to southern England and it’s causing problems both indoors and out. Nobody wants to have to endure the bitter cold nor do they want to deal with its effects – frozen roads and pavements, disrupted traffic, and frozen pipes. The latter, in particular, can be a cause for concern since it can lead to leaks in the home.
Frozen and burst pipes are a common complaint of many homeowners during the winter period and most cases can usually be prevented by following one or more of these simple steps:
- Leaving your heating on for at least one hour a day (in severe weather, heating should be left on all day and night;
- If possible, allow warm air to circulate around the loft to help prevent frozen pipes;
- Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your house if you are away to prevent excess damage should a pipe burst.
Water is required in various parts of the house – the kitchen, the bathroom and sometimes the bedroom, and leaks can happen at any time but especially during the winter when water in the plumbing of your home freezes causing burst pipes. If a leak is not fixed it can cost you a lot of money and cause prolonged damp and structural problems to your home. It is, therefore, vital that you try and reduce the risk of frozen pipes during winter but if that doesn’t work then you need deal with any burst pipes straight away should they occur. Here’s what to do:
- Find the stopcock and turn it off. This is a valve that will stop water entering your home from the mains supply. (Look in the kitchen, under the sink or in the bathroom.)
- Switch off the central heating and open all the taps to drain the system. Contact a professional to administer repairs before turning the heating back on.
- Contact your insurance provider. They should have a 24 hour helpline that you can call to report any damage that has/will likely be done to your home.
Preventing pipes from freezing is the best way to avoid chaos in the home this winter. For more tips on how to prepare for winter take a look at this helpful guide from the Met Office.
New research from consumer campaigning charity Which? Shows that people are more likely to claim on pet insurance than on their car, home or travel cover.
According to the research Which? looked at the reasons behind people’s claims in the last two years and found that four in ten pet insurance owners (39%) have made a claim over that particular period. Of all the general insurance categories pet insurance had the highest percentage of claims among policy holders, beating car insurance (20%), home insurance (18%) and travel insurance (15%).
According to statistics held by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), it is estimated that in 2012 48% of households had at least one pet. In the UK, the pet population, it is estimated, was made up of 8 million dogs, 8 million cats, and around 50 million other pets.
It would seem, then, that Britain is a nation of pet lovers and, as the PFMA suggests, pets are still a priority even during periods in which people are trying to cut back on their spending. Furthermore, as Psychologist Dr. Ceri Parsons of the British Psycological Society believes, the emotional and health rewards of owning and caring for a pet can sometimes outweigh the cost of doing so.
It is, of course, important to make sure that your pet is cared for but sometimes love and attention will only go so far. The range of medical treatment for pets is expanding all the time and it is much easier to get access to treatment that will prolong their life. However, the bills that you will accrue from visits to the vet may cost more than you expected and the cost of treatment can soon mount up. In order to prevent haughty bills and to ensure that your pet is in good health it is wise to make provisions. This can sometimes appear daunting – finding the right policy for your pet is never easy – but this doesn’t mean that you give up hope.
Speaking to a helpful insurance broker will solve this problem. They will have access to many different insurance products, making it easier for you to find the right one. Academy Insurance can help you get the right pet insurance policy so why not call us today and find out how?
We’re sure many of you have heard the news of flooding causing problems for people in certain parts of the UK. We’re also sure that we can help ease your pain (or hopefully prevent it).
Some parts of the UK are seeing flooding due to rain and quickly thawing ice and snow and as nearly 50 flood warnings and around 200 alerts are in place across Britain, it’s no wonder that many ‘at risk’ homeowners are worried. The good news is that we’re here to help.
If you believe that your property is susceptible to flooding then make sure that you keep up to date with all warnings and alerts that concern your area. The Environment Agency offers a helpful region based live flood warning map that should help you plan for the worst and avoid damage to your property.
If you want to know how you can prepare for flooding then take a look at this useful personal flood plan . This will help you compile a list of general contacts to call in the event of a flood affecting your property and will also allow you to lay out a list of counter-flood actions.
In the unfortunate event that your property has been flooded you should arrange emergency repairs to prevent damage getting worse, keep hold of damaged items as they may be repairable and contact your insurer as soon as possible regarding all of these things. If you have to leave your home then this advice from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) could help:
- Consider what valuables and essential items you may be able to take with you;
- Lock your doors and windows if possible;
- Inform family and neighbours of your plans and how to contact you;
- Take emergency contact details with you including mobile phone numbers and email addresses if possible. Your insurer will need this information so they can keep in contact with you;
- Only return to your home after a flood when it is safe to do so.
The winter weather has brought its fair share of trouble for most parts of the UK in the past few days. Rain, lots of snow and plenty of ice have caused travel disruptions, delays and a few unfortunate incidents among motorists. On Friday the Met Office declared its highest extreme weather warning (red) for the south of Wales, indicating that heavy snowfall was predicted. The rest of England and Wales were too alerted to significant snowfall with some areas experiencing up to a foot over the course of a day.
With freezing temperatures and snowfall predicted for the next week or two we feel this would be the perfect time to provide our customers with a few winter time facts to help them through this tricky period.
If you are a motorist or homeowner and you are worried about the added complication of negotiating snow covered roads or are concerned about frozen water pipes in your home then consult the factsheets that we have provided below for useful guidance from Allianz Insurance on how to avoid catastrophe this winter.
Avoid driving bedlam
Click here for Motor Winter Freeze Hints & Tips
Protect your home
Click here for Home Winter Freeze Hints & Tips
We have access to a broad range of insurance products and it’s at times like these that customers need us to select the right one for them. Why not contact us now to find out what we can do for you?
England has awoken to its first ‘proper’ snowfall of 2013 today with more to come later in the day. The met office has issued an amber alert for severe weather for most parts of the UK with the worst of the weather affecting northern counties.
What can Brits expect over the next few days weather wise? Well, rain, sleet and snow according to Andy Page, Met Office Chief Forecaster along with ‘very low temperatures overnight [expecting] ice to cause some impacts too.’ Ice and snow are common causes of damage to property in the UK and so if you live in an area that has significant snowfall forecast then make sure not to leave any brittle of breakable items outside. Any damage done to property by snow may be covered under the ‘storm’ provision within buildings insurance policies but this should always be checked with the insurer first.
Furthermore, burst pipes due to freezing overnight or (less likely) during the day can also be a pain to deal with. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) burst pipe and leaking water damage could top £7 million every day during winter. The best way to solve this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The ABI advises households to:
- Ensure that loft water pipes and water tanks are insulated.
- Know where your stopcock that turns of the incoming water supply is, and make sure that it works.
- If you will be away from the home on holiday ensure that it is kept as warm as possible. If you are away for a long time it may be worth draining your cold water system.
If a pipe freezes:
- Thaw out the pipe using gentle heat such as towels soaked in warm water or a hairdryer. Don’t use a heat gun or blow torch.
- Remove furniture and carpet (where practical) near to the frozen pipe. This will minimise damage if the pipe bursts.
If a pipe bursts:
- Turn off the water at the stopcock.
- Switch off the central heating to avoid further damage.
- Open all taps to drain the system.
- Contact your home insurer for advice. Most provide 24 hour emergency helplines that will arrange for repairs to be carried out as soon as possible.
To find out more about the Home Insurance that we offer call us now or book a call here .
If you’re feeling those January blues and can’t wait to escape the icy clutches of mid-winter then now could be the best time to buy some travel insurance and plan a trip abroad. Failing that, you might like to think warmer thoughts and start planning a trip abroad for the Easter break. There are plenty of destinations that are warm and welcoming this time of year so stop slacking and get packing!
According to travel expert, Sarah Woods, there are several holiday destinations that Brits frequent purely for the warmer temperatures. She says: “UK cruise-goers either stick to Mediterranean Europe in the New Year for a shorter duration closer to home or opt for a cruise around the Caribbean – often with additional ports in Central and South America – if time and distance and cost are no object.”
The Caribbean and Central America often sees 30 degrees C this time of year, otherwise a Mediterranean cruise would do nicely, if a bit cooler.
Whatever the weather, it appears that Brits will be taking more holidays in 2013. According to recent research commissioned by discount travel website Hotwire.com, Brits will be investing in travel insurance and taking more time off this year.
The survey revealed that nearly 1.5 million more Brits plan to take trips this year compared to 2012, spending some £1.6 billion more on their travel than they did last year.
This means that the average Brit will spend £1,944 on holidays in 2013 – up by two per cent from last year – with Scots proving to be the biggest spenders from the UK.
If you are taking a holiday this year then Academy Insurance is here to help find the best policy for you. Whether it’s single trip travel insurance or annual multi-trip insurance that you need, we can tailor a policy to suit your holiday. If you are taking more than two holidays in a year, annual insurance could save you money. Our Premier policies include Scheduled Airline Failure cover, perfect for a stress free holiday.
If you own or manage a business that has a fleet of cars then one of the many issues you will encounter is fleet insurance. This may seem daunting at first but securing a reasonable policy for a fleet or mini-fleet does not have to be complicated.
Many business owners will provide their employees with company cars. Other businesses such as taxi firms or delivery companies will require a fleet of cars or vans in order to provide a service. In either case the vehicles are essential to the success of the business.
Business owners will no doubt be concerned about numerous aspects of owning a fleet of vehicles. Choosing the right vehicle will mean selecting a brand and model that suits the company and is cost effective. It’s no use purchasing a fleet made up of BMW 3-Series executive cars if your budget won’t stretch to maintaining them, even if BMW offer a Hybrid, low-emission model – something which has recently become important to companies and the tax man. Conversely, it may well be suitable to offer luxurious vehicles to your drivers if you operate a taxi firm.
Employers may also be faced with the choice of leasing a fleet or buying several vehicles. There is also the added complication of organising fleet management and vehicle tracking systems, not to mention the fuel costs and low-carbon emission responsibility.
According to a recent survey , the most popular company cars to date are the Skoda Citigo, the Ford Fiesta, and the Kia Ceed with the traditional Mondeo following closely behind. These vehicles appear, for the moment, to be most popular and the most efficient means of getting employees around.
It’s clear that there is much choice involved in owning a fleet of vehicles and it isn’t always easy. The good news is that acquiring insurance for your fleet is simple. The best way to save time and money is to contact your local insurance broker and ask them to issue a quote for your fleet.
Academy Insurance offers a range of insurance policies for any size fleet and any type of vehicle. We have access to a panel of leading insurers and can deliver tailored fleet insurance cover that meets your exact requirements. Why not call us now or book a call to find out how we can help?
If you are a landlord renting to students there are a few key things you should know:
Make sure you have a HHRS (Housing health and safety rating system) compliance certificate. Legally this is something you have to have if you plan to rent to students. The system sets out standards for asbestos, sanitation and hygiene as well as the structure of the building so it’s quite a complex and demanding certificate. The local council have the power to enforce this standard and they also have the power to penalise non-compliant landlords too so this is not something that should be overlooked.
According to the National Landlords Association (NLA) if you are letting your house out to three or more unrelated tenants then you let a shared house and you will need to get hold of an HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) certificate. This is another compulsory standard that is designed to protect the student community from “rogue” landlords. Essentially this is a safety certificate so in order to comply you need to make sure you have adequate fire exits, fire doors and a proper fire drill in place.
Security is another big concern. Students are a major target for burglars so be sure to fit adequate door and window locks to any student properties. A burglar alarm is also a good deterrent.
Make sure you are covered with suitable buy to let insurance. This sort of insurance is sometimes known as landlords insurance and will cover the additional risks involved in renting out your home but tends not to cover, or will only cover you partly, for tenants who either can’t or won’t pay the rent. To prevent this you should speak with your insurer to ensure that you have a policy that suits you.
Why not book a call with us to see how we can help?